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Beloved Royal Oak Priest Dies

Monsignor William Easton, 69, has led the flock at the National Shrine of the Little Flower since 1996.

Msgr. William H. Easton (shown celebrating Midnight Mass in 2009) passed away on Dec. 29. Credit: Daniel Hauck
Msgr. William H. Easton (shown celebrating Midnight Mass in 2009) passed away on Dec. 29. Credit: Daniel Hauck
Parishioners at the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak have received word that long-serving Msgr. William Easton, 69, passed away Sunday.

Easton came to Shrine in 1996, and over the next 17 years he presided over countless weddings, funerals, baptisms and services in his Royal Oak parish.

The church's website reads:

It is with heavy heart that we inform you that Reverend Monsignor William H. Easton passed on to eternal life today, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.  

Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Easton and please keep his family in your prayers during this very difficult time.


Before coming to Shrine, Easton was an associate pastor and co-pastor of Royal Oak's St. Mary Catholic Church from 1970 to 1974. He was also a chaplain for the Royal Oak Police Department.

Easton was rushed to Beaumont Hospital on Dec. 20 after suffering a sudden cardiac ailment and subsequent fall, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit website.

[Read a statement from the Archdiocese.]

'The world lost an angel on earth today'


The community sent its condolences to the Shrine family via Facebook on Sunday evening and also used social media to share photos of the beloved pastor. (See above.) 

  • Jim Ellison: Very sad news. We offer our condolences to the entire parish and his family.
  • Angie Wright Howard: This is awful news. He was such an important part of my family's life. May God bless his soul.
  • Jenn Paprocki: Very sorry to hear this. Prayers for the Shrine family.
  • Liv Ann Arnold: Prayers for all our friends at Shrine.
  • Cathi Ostrander: The world lost an angel on earth today!
  • Meg Reutter Bowker: So sad! Too young. Let perpetual light shine upon him.
  • Dora Baltrusaitis: So sad. A great shepherd of his flock. May he rest in peace.
  • Ryan Rosevear: Such sad news, Monsignor was a big part of what makes living in Royal Oak and being a part of the Shrine family so enjoyable. We are blessed to have had such a man be the leader of our church. May he rest in eternal peace.
  • Lynda Hiltz: Monsignor was my greatest comfort in my mother and brother's passing. May Our Lord receive him with great love.
  • Rebekah Beauchamp: Father Easton was a great man with a lovely voice. He was there to share in so many sacrament for my children and family, a great man who will be missed by many.

Funeral arrangements


A Rosary prayer service is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. in the church.

"Now more than ever we need to come together as a community to pray in thanksgiving for the amazing life of Monsignor Easton. We need to offer prayers of strength and encouragement to his family. And we need to pray together for our Shrine community," reads the church's website.

Easton will be in state at the National Shrine of the Little Flower (Woodward Ave. and 12 Mile Rd) on Thursday, Jan. 2 from 2 - 10 p.m. Mass of the Resurrection will be on Friday, Jan. 3, at 11:00 am.


Memorial tributes 


Memorial tributes may be made to:

Sacred Heart Major Seminary
2701 Chicago Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48206 

American Cancer Society
20450 Civic Center Drive
Southfield, MI 48076 

Or to any of the parishes he served, including:

Ray Smith December 29, 2013 at 05:47 PM
How sad. I attended the Shrine for a time and Easton seemed like a solid individual and very passionate for the faith. He will be missed.
Maria Tierney Koehn December 30, 2013 at 05:14 PM
A soul was shot December 28, 2013 in Farmington Hills and now Monsignor has gone to to The Lord too. So young, so sad. God bless them both may Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Being a peacemaker is what it is all about. To we the people; to those in and out of the womb, to the poor, to the confused, to all shades of skin, to the sinner ... God calls us to His Mercy and to show Mercy. Our pain is great that we carry but it becomes greater if we place our pain on anyone else but Jesus. It is for eternal wellness we give up sin. Wellness with God and a hope for eternal wellness for our family and friends, eternal wellness for our neighbors we share our time on Earth with. It is for Peace. It is Peace. Peace. "PEACE ON EARTH TO MEN OF GOOD WILL." - God's Messenger 1st Christmas Peace begins at home. I will work harder at it. So Thankful for Fr. Bill being a Priest so that I could receive Jesus in my First Holy Communion from him, many moons ago. Thankful for his prayers for us. It is grand being back in the fold. Please keep praying for all of us Monsignor Easton. I remember as a child Father Bill at St. Mary's waiting to say good bye to all the parishioners after Mass. He would stand outside of church in front of the Rectory with his huge Saint Bernard dog Gum Drop (properly named :) ) He was very kind to us kids and we loved him and his dog. Always a joy to say hello or goodbye to, except today. May The Lord comfort the Families.
jane rock January 01, 2014 at 10:41 PM
Prayers for the Easton family, friends, & parish. RIP Most Reverend Monsignor Easton. You will be dearly missed by all.

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